Wednesday, December 30, 2015

424. Dr. Dave Wang's Paper Helped Local Business Flurishing

Usually, an academic paper helps other scholars to deepen their research and general readers to gain knowledge on the subject. With this post I would like you to enjoy the fact that Dr. Dave Wang's examination of traditional Chinese civilization in North America has helped entrepreneurs to create and develop traditional business. Jon Strother wrote a Special  report for The Post and Courier, in which he told his readers the true story of how a business man created a traditional tea store and make a big business in the United States. From his report we know that Mr. Kyle Brown, from Charleston, South Carolina "has found a strong connection between the early tea trade and Charleston. The Holy City, New York, Boston and Philadelphia represented the four major ports of entry for Colonial tea imports. Little wonder then that Charleston staged its first revolutionary “tea party” even before Boston's more famous one. The tea seized on Charleston's docks in 1773 in response to the British Tea Act was stored in the Old Exchange and then sold a couple of years later to help fund the Revolution. Subsequent protests in Charleston simply dumped the tea into the harbor. 
Despite the setbacks imposed on the tea trade by the Revolutionary War, Americans' thirst for tea continued to grow. According to Dave Wang in an article for the 2011 Virginia Review of Asian Studies about China's cultural influence on the United States, “The Chinese-American tea trade increased steadily after 1785. With the increase of population and wealth, the American people demanded larger and larger quantities of tea.”
Jon also told us that "Now there are growing signs of revived interest in historical teas and tea-ways, and Brown's radar is finely tuned to them. Oliver Pluff's teas are currently carried at more than 200 historic sites across the country, from Monticello to Yosemite National Park. “Tea marries really well with history,” he says, “and that's really what we're about.”
It will be cool when I drive down to Kyle's traditional tea shop in the south and enjoy his historical tea sometime in the near future.


Wednesday, December 23, 2015

423. George Washington Sorounded by the Imports from China

In the early morning of a day in the late 1780s a patrician gentleman stood in his house in Mount Vernon, his feet cushioned by straw carpeting from China. As he relaxed, he enjoyed Chinese Hyson tea from a Chinese porcelain cup and watched his golden Chinese pheasants strutting on the lawn. Before he ate breakfast, which was served with Chinese porcelain wares, he sat at his table reading news on American trade with China. Later, as he went for a walk around his property, he checked on his geese and pigs also from China. In the afternoon, he would survey his Chinese flower gardens on his farm.

The man was George Washington, first President of the United States. He has a true appreciation for Chinese imports. He personally involved in spearheading U. S. trade with China.

Friday, December 18, 2015

422. Chinese Silk, Jamesetown and Benjamin Franklin

We have learned that Benjamin Franklin promoted the silk production in North America in the colonial ear. Until July 2015, we have no idea when the silk reached North America. According to the article, Unearthing Jamestown’s Leaders, and a Mystery, by Nicholas Fandos , in the New York Times, July 28, 2015, the silk came to North American soon after Jamestown, the first permanent English settlement was established in May 1607. Researchers found the remains of a silk sash over the chest of Captain West’s skeleton, likely indicating his military rank.

In the eve of theAmerican Revolution, Franklin realized the value of silk to a new American society. He visited Ezra Stiles’ home in Newport, Rhode Island in the spring of 1763, to discuss with him the latter’s experiment with raising silkworms. The minister’s 3,000 worms were just beginning to cocoon. Stiles was working hard to gather large amounts of mulberry leaves to feed the silkworms. In order to help Stiles’ experiment, Franklin, in December the same year, sent him some prints “copied from Chinese Pictures concerning the Produce of Silk.” Two years later, in order to have a comprehensive understanding of the silk industrial development in China, Franklin studied the history of silk in China.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

421. American Images of China

It seems that American Image of China is a catchy title as a book. Recently one used the title again for his book published in 2014. History is a study of the past. It is good for a writer do trace back the history of American’s image of China. The author started his description of Americans’ understanding of China from 1776. However, the founders of this country had started their efforts to borrow from Chinese civilization long before 1776. Can a nation's history be cut? Can we understand the whole process of Americans' understanding of China? Clearly, without the examination of the founders great visions on how Chinese civilization could be used to build a new nation in North America, any image of China created after the founding of the United States remains an image of the writer’s own image, even though plus some quotes from some persons. A simple question is, In a book of discussing the image of China, should an author ignore the founders’ image of China?

Sunday, December 13, 2015

420. Most Popular Posts in 2015

      Nov 19, 2011, 113 comments
     Oct 22, 2008, 159 comments
      Feb 24, 2013, 63 comments
      Apr 28, 2012, 18 comments
      Oct 30, 2011, 20 comments
      Feb 7, 2013, 64 comments
     Apr 9, 2013, 19 comments
      Nov 27, 2008, 19 comments
      Mar 29, 2011, 19 comments
      May 1, 2013, 16 comments

Saturday, December 5, 2015

419. Dr. Dave Wang, Cited in 'The Futility of Law and Development'

Mr. Jeffrey Bingham Mead, the President of Hawaii History Education Council is delighted to report that one of our former board members, Dr. Dave Wang of New York City, has been making inroads into Latin America through his research.

 Dr. Wang is globally famous for his in-depth research on the influences of Chinese civilization on the founding of the United States of America and the American Founders. His blog site is here. 

Dr. Dave Wang wrote in his email to Jeffrey Mead,

."I just found that In his new book, The Futility of Law and Development published by Oxford University on November 24, 2015, Dr. Jedidiah J. Kronche, a well-known Professor from FGV Sao Paulo School of Law (Brazil) cited at least eight of my published papers on the US founding fathers used Chinese Civilization to develop a new America." 

The papers include:

01. Thomas Jefferson's Incorporating Positive Elements from Chinese Civilization, Virginia Review of Asian Studies, 145 (2012)
02. Benjamin Franklin and China,
03.With China We Trade, Asian Times (March 11, 2009)
04. Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Chinese Civilization, , Virginia Review of Asian Studies 32 (2009)
05. The U.S Founders and China, Education About Asia, 7 (2011)

Monday, November 30, 2015

418. Why The Founders Found Confucian Moral Philosophy Irresistible

In his book, The Idea of America; Reflections on the Birth of the United States, Professor Gorgon S. Wood provided his readers his unique insight on the success of the American Revolution. Through reading of his book, one also will understand more clearly on the founders' introduction of Confucian moral philosophy to the Americans. It shouldn't be regarded as a choice of convenience for the founders' efforts to promote the philosophy in the critical time of the nation.

Professor Wood pointed out correctly, the American revolutionaries' view of the ancient past was very selective. They focused "on the moral and social basis of politics and on social degeneracy and corruption." (p.59) Not only the founders, but the planters also "were voicing a growing sense of impending ruin, whose sources seemed in the minds of many to be linked more and more with the corrupting British connection and Scottish factors but for others frighteningly rooted in 'our Pride, our Luxury and Idleness.'" In addition to the planters, the public in Virginia and other colonies "became obsessed with 'corruption' virtue, and luxury." Therefore, in the eve of the Revolution, the remarkable growth of dissent "suggests some sort of social stress." (p.50)

Naturally, the founders were looking for a kind of moral philosophy to help them build new virtue for the new nation. It was in this vital conjuncture of the US history, Confucian moral philosophy was entrusted the responsibility by the founders to start a new virtue for the liberated Americans.

Dr. Wood's research allows us to understand further on the founding father's efforts to bring Confucian moral philosophy over the Atlantic Ocean to the new nation they created. They saw the need of such a moral philosophy.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

417. The Significance of Confucius Portrait at James Madison's Home

James Madison (1751-1836), the father of the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights, had a portrait of Confucius hanging in his Virginia home

In his 2013 book, The Founders at Home: The Building of America, 1735-1817, Dr. Myron Magnet made his efforts to examine the reasons why the American revolution the only successful revolution. Readers may get the answer from reading his book. For me, one of the reasons was that the founders drew positive elements and received inspiration from other cultures, particularly Chinese culture. 

The below vivid description of Madison's personal experiences in his Virginia home reveals the significance of Confucius portrait at his house. The fourth president "had lived nineteen years in Montpelier, the columned brick Virginia plantation where he had grown up since age nine or ten, where as a young legislator he had pored over history and political philosophy to help fame his plan for the U.S. Constitution". (From The Founders at Home, p.321)

Saturday, November 7, 2015

416. On Time for the United States to Learn from China

In her blog, Asia Unbound,  Elizabeth Economy pointed out that the United States should learn from China. She said that, "The United States has spent over thirty years trying to “teach” China with, at best, mixed results. I think the time is well overdue for a turnabout in roles. We need to start learning from China." Interestingly enough, she called for the United States to learn from China in 2011.

From this blog and Dr. Dave Wang's published works, readers may have learned, the history that the United States learned from China is longer than the history of the United States. Famous colonists, including the founders of this nation, started to learn from China and adopted positive elements from Chinese civilization in the colonial period.

Clearly, the process of learning from China was started by the founding fathers who borrowed much wisdoms from China, including Confucianism in the founding era.

415. American Confucian or American Socrates

For John E. Remsburg, Benjamin franklin was an American Socrates. The following statement from Franklin can be used to support John's opinion,  “The perusal of Shaftesbury and Collins had made me a skeptic; and, being previously so as to many doctrines of Christianity, I found Socrates' method to be both the safest for myself, as well as the most embarrassing to those against whom I applied it. It soon afforded me singular pleasure; I incessantly practiced it; and became very adroit in obtaining, even from persons of superior understanding, concessions of which they did not foresee the consequence" Benjamin Franklin’s Autobiography, p. 17)  Clearly, Franklin adopted Socrates method for reasoning and communication.

In moral cultivation, it is more appropriate to say that Franklin was an American Confucian. Through Dr. Dave Wang’s research, we have learned that Franklin loved Confucius moral philosophy since his young age. He organized the youth group to discuss how to improve one’s virtue. He published chapters of Confucius work in 1737. He claimed the Confucius was his example in advancing his and the human beings  virtue in 1749. We have enough reasons to say that Franklin was an American Confucian by 1749.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

414. Confucian Moral Philosophy and America's Best Hope

The founders would be very happy to read what a contemporary writer’s following statement,   “America's best hope is to adopt a more Confucian lifestyle: (1) more focused on education, (2) more respectful of old people, (3) better able to subordinate private needs to public goods, (4) more responsible to the needs of family, (5) more polite in our daily lives, and (6) more hardworking.” (What Can Americans Learn from Confucianism? A Whiteheadian Appreciation of the Confucian Lifestyle.)
The United States has developed from a small nation composed of the 13 colonies into the world power since 1776. Indeed, over the 240 years, situation changed a lot. Many things disappeared or lost in the history. However, the efforts improving American virtues through Confucian moral philosophy has remained the same as the founders’ in the founding era. The virtues Jay McDaniel listed are mainly what the founders hoped and requested the new Americans to possess.
Jay has also noticed that, “The likelihood that Americans will be learning from Confucianism increases every day. … As Hillary Clinton observes in a recent article in Foreign Affairs: "It is becoming increasingly clear that the world's strategic and economic center of gravity will be the Asia-Pacific, from the Indian subcontinent to western shores of the Americas.”

Saturday, October 10, 2015

413. Confucius and the Origin of Communal Tradition in the United States

The communal tradition of the United States was started by the founders in the founding era of the United States. It was nurtured by Confucian moral philosophy the founders promoted in the new nation. 

Most people would not think ancient Chinese thought was relevant for the American founding, but Confucian moral philosophy had answers for the moral reconstruction in the wake of the independence. In his famous work The Analects, Confucius taught a life long process of moral advancement. One of my friends was puzzled by Dr. Dave Wang's paper, Confucius in American Founding. For him, Confucianism favored a hierarchical political system culminated in the emperor. How Confucianism made contribution to the cause of the founders, who fought against the monarchical society. It was also unthinkable that Confucius would support the founders radical ideals, --commitment to liberty, equality, government of the people and rule of law. 

Here we need to understand Confucianism fully. No doubt, in Confucius era, the monarchical society with an enlightened ruler was an ideal social system. Confucius taught rulers to be virtuous and formulated a series of ethic principles for leaders of state. Therefore, a very important part of Confucianism is personal virtual cultivation. Confucius requested leaders to be  gentlemen who should always claim moral leadership to exercise proper influences in order to put society in good order. Following Confucius moral principles, gentlemen with good virtue always serve the community with their talents and resources. They should devote attention to local welfare institutions, such as promoting education.

Clearly, the founders who realized the value of Confucian personal virtual cultivation, adopted his individual moral improvement in their efforts to reconstruct a new virtue for the new nation. That explains why the founders promoted the Confucian moral philosophy in the founding era. As for how they used Confucian moral philosophy, please read Confucius in the American Founding.

One of the legacies from the founding fathers efforts is that their efforts had produced the phenomenon as discovered by Alexis de Tocqueville in 1803 "that Americans were very good at associating with one another and subordinating their individualism to voluntary groups of one type or another."(Francis FukuyamaConfucianism and Democracy).

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

412. Why Confucius, not Socrates in American Moral Revolution

Dr. Dave Wang's article, Confucius in American Founding, examines the efforts of the founders who used Confucian moral philosophy to help created a new virtue for the fledgling new nation. One question is that why Socrates virtue was not adopted by the founding fathers. In the following readers will find why Confucius moral principles, not Socrates were chosen in the moral reconstruction during the founding era. For the founders, Socrates's real moral principles were corrupted by Plato, Thomas Jefferson pointed out that "So again, the superlative wisdom of Socrates is testified by all antiquity, and placed on ground not to be questioned. When, therefore, Plato puts into his mouth such paralogisms, such quibbles on words, and sophisms, as a school boy would be ashamed of, we conclude they were the whimsies of Plato's own foggy brain, and acquit Socrates of puerilities so unlike his character." ( Thomas Jefferson’s Letter to William Short from Monticello August 4,1820.)

In one of his federal papers, James Madison, told his fellow Americans, "Had every Athenian citizen been a Socrates, every Athenian assembly would still have been a mob." (The Total Number of the House of Representatives, Independent Journal, Wednesday, February 13, 1788)

Finally, in the eyes of  John Adams, Confucius comes in the first place in terms of virtue. Adams declares, “Confucius, Zoroaster, Socrates, Mahomet, not to mention authorities really sacred, have agreed in this” goal of happiness through virtue. ( John Adams - “Thoughts on Government”April 1776) 

Confucian moral philosophy made available in the eighteenth century to wider and deeper strata of the colonists. For example, Benjamin Franklin worked hard to spread Confucius moral teachings in North America as early as 1737. Confucius moral teachings had been studied and discussed in the colonies about half century before the founding of the United States.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

411. Chinese President Xi, Secretary of State John Kerry, Benjamin Franklin and Confucius

I am sure that my readers and the readers of Dr. Dave Wang's research on Benjamin Franklin and Confucian moral philosophy have noticed the following remarks from the Secretary and the President on September 25, 2015;

"Dr. Franklin – the reason I mention this is because Dr. Franklin was absolutely fascinated by the great scholar Confucius and by China generally, which he way back then called the wisest of nations.  As a scholar himself, Franklinlearned all he could about Chinese silkworm, cultivation, about ship design,candle-making, and home heating.  And one of his inventions, the Franklinstove, was actually based on Chinese ideas, which emphasizes that intellectual property was a hot issue way back then.  (Laughter.) 

 "And Secretary Kerry just announced to us that this room is named after Benjamin Franklin, one of the founding fathers of the United States.  And Mr. Franklin had a close connection with China.  He has such great respect for Confucius – a Chinese philosopher, thinker, and founder of Confucianism – that he personally promoted Confucius moral philosophy among the American people. " 

Ben Franklin RoomWashington, DC
September 25, 2015

Saturday, September 12, 2015

410. Dr. Eric Schwitzgebel, Confucius-A Part of American Past

Dr. Eric Schwitzgebel, professor of philosophy at UC Riverside, wrote an excellent Op-Ed article for Los Angeles Times, titled “What's missingin college philosophy classes? Chinese philosophers,” He pointed out correctly, “Our neglect of ancient Chinese philosophers in U.S. philosophy departments is partly a remnant of our European colonial past.” However, “the remnant of our European colonial past” is only a part of American history, a main part if you want to say. Clearly, we need to study other parts and piece them together to construct the whole history of the United States. There is no right history until we get all parts and put them in right place in American past.

The tradition-to learn from Confucius moral philosophy, started by the principal founders of this country, was longer than United States history. Actually, the main founders were good students of Confucius moral philosophy. They not only studied but also promoted Confucius moral philosophy in North America tirelessly. As early as 1738 Benjamin Franklin published some chapters of Confucius moral principles in his widely read newspaper, Pennsylvania Gazette. Thomas Jefferson even regarded a moral model set up by Confucius as his own moral example.   

Dr. Schwitzgebel has found that, “Considered globally, moreover, Confucius, Laozi and, to a lesser extent, the other major ancient Chinese philosophers have been enormously influential.” He has also found surprisingly the fact that in the United States, “among the general population, Confucius and Laozi are better known and more broadly discussed than any but a handful of European philosophers.” 

Why this? We have to go back to the founding fathers' wisdom and efforts to borrow from Confucius ethics. It was not Confucius walked with his teachings into American history but the founders applied his moral teachings in the founding of this country. As for how the founders used Confucius moral principles to help them in the founding of the United States, please read Dr. DaveWang’s article" Confucius in American Founding", in Virginia Review of AsianStudies, vol. 16, 2014. 

Sunday, September 6, 2015

409. Samuel Shaw Showed John Jay the Prospect of American Trade With China

Some of me readers might be surprised by the news that Chinese factory are selling their manufactures to the United States.  Even more, China's rail manufacturing company  is setting its sights on the United States, breaking ground on Thursday for a $60 million plant in Springfield, Mass., that will assemble new cars for Boston's subway system. 

Actually, the prospect that the United States is a big market for China's products was predicted by Major Samuel Shaw , (1754-1794) the first American Counsel to China appointed by George Washington 230 years ago. In his letter to John Jay  (1745-1829) dated May 10, 1785, Samuel reported below:

The Day of our arrival at Canton, August 30, and the following days, we were visited by the Chinese merchants and the chiefs and gentlemen of the several European establishments. The Chinese were very indulgent towards us. They styled us that New People; and when by the map we conveyed to them an idea of the extent of our country, with its present and increasing population, they were highly pleased at the prospect of so considerable a market for the products of theirs. As for more on starting of the China Trade, read Dr. Dave Wang's paper, With China We Trade. 

Saturday, August 29, 2015

408. Gouverneur Morris, Woronzow and Macartney's Mission to China

On April 8, 1792, five months before the Macartney's mission started its journey to China. Morris had a conversation with Count Woronzow, Russian ambassador at London. Morris recorded in his diary, "that the British Government have spread all over Europe the most unfavorable impressions respecting America. ...He says the object of Lord Macartney's mission to China is to get some exclusive right to the trade, and that money well employed at Pekin will insure success, the Chinese being the most corrupt, as well as the most cowardly wretches in existence. He says that a leading character in the administration of India affairs was heard to say, in the time when they expected to learn every hour of the fall of Seringapatam, that now was the time to turn their arms against China. "

It is very interesting. The diary shows two important things, the British government planned to bribe the Chinese officials and had prepared for a war against China if the strategy didn't work.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

407. Dr. Dave Wang's Lecture Poster: St. Johns University

One of my readers found the St. Johns University poster that promotes Dr. Dave Wang's lecture on Benjamin Franklin and Confucius Moral Philosophy in 2007. This poster reminds me of the history that Dr. Dave Wang's examination of the US founder's connection with Chinese civilization. 2006 marked the 300th-year anniversary of Benjamin Franklin's birth (1706-2006) and also marked the national celebration honoring the life and enduring legacy of one of our most remarkable founding fathers. Dr. Dave Wang's Paper Benjamin Franklin and China---A Survey of BenjaminFranklin’s Efforts at Drawing Positive Elements from Chinese Civilization during theFormative Age of the United States was published by the office website of the Benjamin Franklin Tercentenary.
In 2009,  Tom Kuntz, the writer of 30 years for the New York Times, wrote "We think of Benjamin Franklin as sage transmitter of the Western European tradition to the early American way of life. But, a Chinese-American academic writes, his correspondence and papers suggest lifelong influences from Chinese culture, “from Confucius philosophy to industrial technologies.” [ResetDoc]

Saturday, August 8, 2015

406. The Dry Rice and Jefferson's Efforts to Improve Slave's Life

In his paper, Asian Dry Rice and the Slave's Living Environment: Thomas Jefferson's Efforts to Transplant the Rice to the United States, Dr. Dave Wang examined the efforts that Thomas Jefferson made aiming to improve slave's working and living condition.
While summarizing what he considered to be his greatest contribution to the world, Thomas Jefferson ranked his effort to introduce dry rice from East Asia into South Carolina in as high regard as his drafting of the Declaration of Independence. One author pointed out that Thomas Jefferson‘s interests in introducing Asian plants ―tied up with the agricultural and horticultural needs of the United States.  This is partially true because the author failed in realizing or ignored the more important reasons of Thomas Jefferson‘s efforts to bring Asian dry rice into North America. Indeed, Jefferson was an agriculturalist. However, Dr. Dave Wang’s recent research on Jefferson and Asian plants has revealed the fact that the introduction of dry rice reflected an important message: Jefferson had social value in his mind when he made his commitment to introduce the Asian plants into the United States.

Jefferson‘s efforts to transplant the dry rice revealed his determination to have it succeeded in the new nation, similar to how the other founding fathers, worked tirelessly to draw nourishments from Chinese civilization. However, Dr. Dave Wang’s examination of Jefferson‘s efforts to introduce Asian dry rice to the United States had led to his  finding of new reasons why the founding father worked hard to borrow from Asian cultures. There was an important agenda in Jefferson‘s mind to uplift the life quality of slaves. He had stated that one of his intentions of obtaining dry rice was ―for the purpose of improving the living conditions of the slaves and saving them from the ravages of disease that swept the Low Countries.

Jefferson‘s long term effort was driven by his following thinking: if the wet rice was replaced by dry rice, ―it would be a great happiness, as it would enable us to get rid of those ponds of stagnant water, so fatal to human health and life. In the meantime, Jefferson‘s connecting the transplanting Asian plants with his effort for bettering slaves working condition reveals another function of Asian civilization in the United States--help improve slave's life quality.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

405. Dr. Dave Wang's Works have been Used as High School History Text Book

In his history class, China's Relations with the United States the Chair of the History Department of the well-known Loomis Chaffee School at Windsor, Connecticut, Robert Andrian used  as teaching text book Dr. Dave Wang's works on the Chinese cultural influence on the early development of the United States.

"It should be pointed out that both before and after the American Revolution, the Founding Fathers were attracted to Chinese philosophy, technology and trade. Confucian moral ideals, for example, were respected at a time when leaders in the U.S. were interested in not blindly following in Europe's footsteps. Thomas Jefferson expressed "the desirability of Chinese isolation and of the need to place an ocean of fire between us and the old world." (Dr. Dave Wang, The US Founders and China: The Origins of Chinese Cultural Influence on the United States Education about Asia, Fall, 2011, p.11)

Chinese heating technology influenced Benjamin Franklin and led to the more efficient Pennsylvania Fireplace and ultimately the Franklin stove. Cold winters became less harsh for many. Chinese porcelain was very popular among American well-heeled families, and Benjamin Rush among others, believed that domestic Chinese porcelain manufacturing was a key to national economic self-reliance and overcoming the colonists' dependence on British imports. According to St. John's Professor David Wang, "the American China Manufactory in Philadelphia became noted for its quality, and more importantly, succeeded in cultivating patriotism as it challenged Britain's monopoly of the product and indirectly contributed to the struggle for independence." (Dr. Dave Wang, The US Founders and China: The Origins of Chinese Cultural Influence on the United States Education about Asia, Fall, 2011, p.8.) 

 When Franklin found Chinese soybeans, rhubarb seeds and tallow trees in England, he sent them along to the colonies. The tallow trees were useful in making soap and candles among other things. And, as can be seen in the accompanying photo of Monticello, Jefferson incorporated Chinese railings in his architectural design.  

The new nation needed to cultivate new trading partners to help propel economic growth. European countries were willing to export to but not import from the U.S. The Empress of China maiden voyage to Canton in 1784 inaugurated a vigorous U.S.-China maritime trade, and was, as Richard Henry Lee put it, "proof of American enterprise, and will probably mortify, as much as it will injure our old oppressor, the British." (Dr. Dave Wang, The US Founders and China: The Origins of Chinese Cultural Influence on the United States Education about Asia, Fall, 2011, p.9)  

Jefferson believed that the China trade could separate the U.S. from Britain. In 1785 two American ships went to China; in 1806, 42 made the voyage. By 1795, the U.S. was ahead of all its European rivals except Britain in terms of volume of trade with China. New York and New England commercial and financial elites began to prosper."

Monday, July 20, 2015

404. Dr. Dave Wang's Paper has been used as Guidelines to Refurnish Museums

Cragfont Frontier Mansion is a state historical house museum in Summer County, Tennessee. The Cragfont house was built between 1798 and 1802 by James Winchester. The Center for Historic Preservation worked to restore the museum. Ms. Rachel McCreery and Ms. Savannah Grandey from Middle Tennessee State University were entrusted to make a furnishing plan for the house. Their contributions continue the work of Dr. Carroll Van West’s American Architecture Seminar, which completed a historic structure report. In their report, Ms. Grandey and Ms. McCreery used Dr. Dave Wang's academic paper to formulate their plan. In the following I will quote the paragraph from their widely acclaimed plan:
While not original to the house, it was possible that the Winchesters owned items from China such as the pair of vases found in the dining room. Throughout the colonial era, Chinese goods such as tea, silk, and porcelain were made available to colonists’ through trade with Europe. After independence, dealings with China helped the young nation initiate international trade and ensured a steady flow of Chinese goods into America. Chinaware was held in high esteem by George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Benjamin Franklin. Owning Chinaware implied refined taste, a quality that Winchester brought to the Tennessee backcountry. (Dave Wang, “Chinese Civilization and the United States: Tea, Ginseng, Porcelain Ware and Silk in Colonial America,” Virginia Review of Asian Studies (2012): 114, 121-4.)”




Saturday, July 18, 2015

403. Dr. Dave Wang's Paper In Italian

Dr.Dave Wang's Paper, Benjamin Franklin and Chinese Civilization has been translated into Italian.

Scholarship on the study of Benjamin Franklin for the past two centuries shows that Franklin’s “legacy had a distinctive place in American culture.” He is a figure we want to understand if we want to understand the American character. We owe much to him for the formation of the civilization we call American civilization today. No other figure has had such a clear vision concerning the future of American civilization and how American civilization could grow out of European civilization. In the long process of “the breaking of the old world,” Franklin wanted to turn himself from being a European “to be American.” How to be an American? Or put it in another way, how to build an American civilization? I believe that Franklin’s efforts to draw positive elements from Chinese civilization in the course of building an American civilization carried much weight in Franklin’s contribution to the formation of American civilization. With the great vision in the “narrow eighteenth-century ideas about other cultures,” Franklin “kept his eyes open to a “world that went far beyond the wharves jutting out into Boston Harbor and far beyond the canons of Puritanism.” Franklin told us that he “was very fond of reading about China.” His statement was very true. His correspondence and miscellaneous papers throughout his life indicate that he was amazed in Chinese culture. He explored almost every aspect of Chinese civilization, from spiritual to material.

Friday, July 10, 2015

402. Dr. Dave Wang's Research Selected by Great Resources for A Class Room Day

In his work of over several years,  Dr. Dave Wang has explored Chinese culture and the early development of the United States, particularly the efforts of eminent colonists, including the founding fathers, who worked hard to draw nourishments from traditional Chinese Civilization. Dr. Wang has written recently an excellent article titled "The US Founders and China: TheOrigins of Chinese Cultural Influence on the United States," useful forthe Chinese-American community and teachers and students interested in their roots in early America. It is a must-have resource for education about Asia. ( Permission to use has been granted by: Peggy Creswell, Managing Editor, EducationAbout Asia. 302 Pfeiffer Hall, Dept. 2222 University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, TN 37403. Phone (423)425-2118, Fax (423)425-5441. Website:

Saturday, July 4, 2015

401.Confucian moral and American Revolution

It is time to celebrate this year's Fourth of July by remembering something forgotten in the fireworks. That was the founders used Confucian moral philosophy to start a new virtue for the new nation.
The victory of the revolution brought freedom to the British colonists in North America. But with this freedom also came greater opportunities to misbehave.  During the late 18th century, moral issues caused by a culture of pleasure and freedom blossomed in American cities. According to some existing historical records, one could find a public place to engage in illicit activities in nearly every block in every 18th-century American city.   Alarmed by those problems and other social issues, the founders reached a consensus that moral construction was not only a necessity in order to make the fruit of the revolution sustainable, but should be considered a priority. The founders believed that only virtuous people could live in a free society. Almost every founding father testified to the link between liberty and virtue. George Washington (1732-1799) told Americans: “It is essentially true that virtue or morality is a main and necessary spring of popular or republican governments.”  Benjamin Rush stated, "Without virtue there can be no liberty."   Benjamin Franklinwarned, “[O]nly a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters.”   Thomas Jefferson told his fellow Americans, "A nation as a society forms a moral person, and every member of it is personally responsible for his society."   John Adams told the Americans that while the success of the revolution made the colonies free, “they will not obtain a lasting Liberty” without good virtues.   He continued, "If Virtue & Knowledge are diffused among the People, they will never be enslav'd. This will be their great Security.” It was because of the above understanding the significance of new virtue that Confucius moral philosophy became important to the founders. For more information on how the founders introduced and promoted Confucian moral philosophy, please read Dr. Dave Wang's article, "CONFUCIUS IN THE AMERICAN FOUNDING:  THE FOUNDERS’ EFFORTS TO USE CONFUCIAN MORAL PHILOSOPHY IN THEIR ENDEAVOR TO CREATE NEW VIRTUE FOR THE NEW NATION, " Virginia Review of Asian Studies, Vol. 16, 2014.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

400. Dr. Dave Wang's Main Publications Since September 2013

Dr.Dave Wang has delivered lectures and speeches on the topic of US founders and Chinese civilization at universities in Lisbon, London, New York, Rome, Singapore, and Tokyo.  Dr. Wang is the author of over thirty articles on the influence of traditional Chinese civilization on the early development of the United States. Below you will find his recent publications in the subject.  You can find his other publications in Post 300 and Post 200

33. Defending the American Colonies: Benjamin Franklin’s Great Wall, 1756-1776,  VirginiaReview of Asian Studies, Volume 17, 2015
32. Confucius in the American Founding: The Founders’ Efforts to Use Confucian Moral Philosophy in Their Endeavor to Create New Virtue for the New Nation, Virginia Review of Asian Studies, Volume 16, 2014 

31. Benjamin Franklin: Chinese Yu Yunwen in North America: Franklin’s Personal Experiences in the Front and the Formation of His Notion of the Great Walls”  HuarenE-Magazine (Australia) September, 2013


Sunday, June 21, 2015

399. Dr. Dave Wang's Papers Have Been Adopted As Teaching Materials

My readers should know that Dr. Dave Wang’s papers have walked into University classrooms and been adopted as graduate and undergraduate reading assignments by some universities in the United States and abroad as well. With this post I introduce you that the Seminar of USC (The University of South California) U.S.-China Institute has included Dr. Dave Wang’s papers in the reading assignments.  Ms. EmilyIsler, who took the seminar on US and China relations, expressed that “ I really enjoyed reading about the US founding fathers and the Chinese influence on their architecture, economic policies, and first political affairs. Clay, did you plan our lecture based upon this reading? I feel like everything you talked about was mentioned in the first article titled The US Founders and China. In particular I didn't realize that our major canals here in the US were based upon Chinese canals. I am from Cleveland but I had no idea the Erie Canal was influenced by earlier Chinese canals.” Ms. Isler teaches at Rolling Hills Prep, 10th grade World History, 10th grade AP European She was excited to learn more about US/Chinese relations and she really enjoyed 2011 fall seminar.

Friday, June 19, 2015

398. A Hong Kong University and Dr. Dave Wang's Works

The Hong Kong University of Science And Technology (香港科技大學) is an International college located in Hong Kong. At The Hong Kong University Of Science And Technology, students can major in a broad variety of subjects and earn undergraduate as well as post-graduate degrees.
I have found that Dr. Dave Wang's works on Confucius and American founding has been discussed in its class room and works in Asia. The using of his work by students or faculty members from this university serves as another indicator that Dr. Wang's research on Chinese culture on American founders has its impact on contemporary university campus.


Wednesday, June 17, 2015

397. David Weir: Confucian thought Irrelevant to American Revolution

For David Weir, from the Cooper Union for the Advancement ofScience and Art, “Confucian thought ultimately proved irrelevant to the revolutionary shift from colony to nation that the founding fathers accomplished. “ (American Orient: Imaging the East from the Colonial Era Through the Twentieth Century, p.15.) If we agree with him, we have to agree that Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, James Madison were irrelevant to the revolutionary shift from the colony to nation. The above founding fathers had studied Confucian ideas and applied them to solve the moral and educational issues in the process of the formation of the new nation. Let see what Weir claimed in his book, All three (Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams) “ were aware if the political import of Confucius, who entered into American political thought mainly by way of the great European philosophers that the nation’s founders admired and respected: Leibniz, Condorecet, Voltaire, and others.” (ibid. p.15) For your convenience I put the picture of the page on the right. 

Clearly, Mr. Weir contradicted himself on the same page in the same book he wrote in 2011.  He agreed that Confucius ideas had an impact on the founders before the founding of the United States on one hand, but, on the other hand, he claimed,  in the founding era, the Confucius impact on the founders suddenly disappeared. The history of the United States founding was cut. The problem with his conclusion was that the founding father didn’t die before the founding of the United States. Some of them lived long after the founding of the nation. Benjamin Franklin passed away in 1790. Thomas Jefferson and John Adams passed away in 1826, fifty years after 1776. Further more, their influence on the United States never die out. Their efforts to borrow positive elements from other cultures always inspire the people of the United States. As for more information on the founding of the United States and Confucius, please read Dr. Dave Wang’s essay, Confucius in American Founding (Virginia Review of Asian Studies, volume 16 (2014) 11-26).

Thursday, June 11, 2015


During the American Colonial Era, Founding Father Benjamin Franklin borrowed many positive elements from Chinese civilization to spur the development of his fledging nation. For instance, Franklin attempted to spread Confucian moral philosophy as well as Chinese silktechnology among the colonies. However, it may come as a surprise that Franklin also drew inspiration from Chinese defensive strategy. 

Franklin turned to Chinese military strategy immediately following the beginning of the American Revolution, in which the thirteen colonies declared their independence from Great Britain. The newly-formed United States faced tremendous military pressure, for Great Britain had mobilized its considerable military to suppress the rebellion. The Founding Fathers were faced with the seemingly impossible task of protecting the nascent nation.
 During this time, Franklin suggested that the colonies build a great wall, similar to that of China. This was not the first time Franklin expressed his desire to model the colonies’ defensive strategy after the way the Chinese defended their territory. In fact, sixteen years before the start of the American Revolution, Franklin suggested before the British Parliament that the best means to protect the colonists’ interests was to construct a great wall like that of China.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

395. 美籍华人王小良博士在《孔子与美国建国》一文

I have found from the Internet that Dr. Dave Wang's paper, Confucius in American Founding, has been translated into Chinese. In the following you can read the chapters of Dr. Wang's paper in Chinese. 


在美国建国的过程中,其缔造者们都把源自孔子道德哲学的价值观,付诸实践。他们仰慕儒家思想,这从《美国宪法》和《权利法案》之父詹姆斯·麦迪逊(1751—1736年)的住所,可见一斑,他的弗吉利亚的家中悬挂着孔子画像。……《常识》的作者托马斯·潘恩(1737—1809年)把这位中国圣人与耶稣……等量齐观。……美国精神的创造者本杰明·富兰克林(1706—1790年)庄严声明,儒家的道德哲学对于全人类都是有价值的(换言之,儒家的道德哲学是人类的“普世价值”——引者。原文:Confucian moral philosophy was valuable to the human being in general.)。《独立宣言》的主要作者,托马斯·杰斐逊(1743—1826年) 在其1801年(第三任美国总统)就职演讲中,促进孔子的道德原则;在其个人的书中,他放置了一首有关孔子推崇圣王(周公)的诗。其他美国的缔造者们,如约翰·亚当斯(1735—1826年。第二任美国总统)和本杰明·拉什(1746—1813年。科学家)都是高度赞扬孔子,犹如他为建设这个新国家预备了蓝图。所有这些美国的缔造者们,皆敦促这个新国家的公民们,躬行儒家道德哲学中的积极成分,按照孔子的示范涵养和提升国民品行。[40]

Dr. Dave Wang's article was translated by scholar from England. Below is his brief biography:


394. Benjamin Franklin, Religion and Virtue

Readers of my blog have learned that Confucian moral philosophy helped Franklin shape his virtues. According to Dr.Dave Wang's research, we know that Franklin set up his goals to make him a better person after he read Confucius works in 1726. Franklin believed that his successes in life were because of his own efforts to cultivate his virtue.
In 1738, barely a year after Franklin published in his Pennsylvania Gazette, works of Confucius Moral philosophy, he told hisfather,   "I think vital religion has always suffered when orthodoxy is more regarded than virtue. The scriptures assure me that at the last day we shall not be examined on what we thought but what we did."  (Benjamin Franklin, letter to his father, 1738)

393. Benjamin Franklin and Chinese Food

It might be difficult to identify who was the first American that had experiences with Chinese food. However, the current record shows that Benjamin Franklin mentioned Chinese food. Franklin was the first American introduced Tofu to North America,  the well-known Chinese food. Tofu originated in China of the Han dynasty  over 2,000 years ago. It was introduced to North America about 245 years ago.

In a letter to John Bartram, dated January 11, 1770, Franklin said, "Father Navarrete's account of the universal use of a cheese made of them in China, which so excited my curiosity, that I caused enquiry to be made of Mr. [James] Flint, who lived many years there, in what manner the cheese was made, and I send you his answer. I have since learned that some runnings of salt (I suppose runnet) is put into water, when the meal is in it, to turn it to curds. [...] These ... are what the Tau-fu is made of.".

Friday, May 29, 2015

392. Philadelphia's First Confucius Institute

As a part of Temple University’s ongoing commitment to international education, the university is collaborating with China’s Zhejiang Normal University (ZJNU) to launch the Confucius Institute at Temple University. The center for the teaching of Chinese language and culture is the first of its kind in greater Philadelphia.

I have made it clear that probably it was that Benjamin Franklin created the first Confucius institute. Franklin named his group (institute )Junto. It was founded  in 1727 immediately after his returning from England. It is believe that Junto comes from a mistaken use of the Spanish noun “junta,” which means “a meeting.” This word derives from the Latin “iunct,” which means “to join.” 

Interestingly enough, Junto (君道) in Chinese is interpreted as the “Way of a Gentleman” or the “Path Leading to a Virtuous Person.” The Chinese meaning seems to best reflect Franklin's purpose of establishing the group. It shouldn't regarded as coincidence. It is well-know that one of the main goals of Junto was to cultivate more virtuous members for society. For more information on Junto, one can read Benjamin Franklin’s autobiography, now available online. However, there is much  work to be done to prove that Junto, the name of the group was borrowed from Chinese. I hope we will better understand Junto with more study of Benjamin Franklin's efforts to cultivate his virtue by scholars worldwide.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

391.Confucius, the Founders and Private Morality

In his Op-Ed article, Goodness and Power, April 28, 2015, David Brooks, the columnist of the New York Times, had a good point on private morality. He said that private morality "is about building trust and enduring personal relationships. That means being fair, empathetic, honest and trustworthy." He continued "People with good private morality are better at navigating for the long term. They genuinely love causes beyond themselves."

Through reading Dr. Dave Wang's article, Confucius in American Founding, a reader should be able to find out that Mr. David Brooks' opinion on private virtue is consistent with the founders'. According to Dr. Dave Wang, the founders understood that respectable and benevolent men were more likely to support the universal pursuit of happiness. An affectionate man would not only be more likely to live in harmony with his neighbors, but also able to understand the mutual sacrifices required for the success of the new nation. The founders drew from Confucius’ moral teachings for the private virtue that the new nation required.  The main tenets of Confucian moral philosophy provided what the founders needed to build the new private virtue for its citizens and future leaders. These founders dreamt of creating the truly virtuous people brought up by the Confucian standards of a gentleman. As a result, Confucian moral philosophy became so important to the founders and the cause they fought for.